By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
By all accounts, President Joe Biden has forged an economy that even the naysayers have difficulty finding fault.
In the two years since Biden took office, a record 12 million new jobs have been created, the unemployment rate is 3.4 percent, the lowest in more than a half century, and the 5.4 percent unemployment rate among African Americans is something to celebrate.
Overall, African Americans applauded Biden’s State of the Union Address, a powerful display of what can be done from the top bully pulpit in the world despite members of the Republican Party hissing, booing, and calling the president a liar.
However, Biden has yet to deliver on true police reform, an issue that remains a top priority for African Americans even if It’s not totally in the president’s control.
During a half-day long conference at the White House in which the administration invited only Black journalists, high ranking officials said Biden’s bipartisan Safer Communities Act and his executive order on police reform are as far as he’s constitutionally allowed.
The administration continues to urge state lawmakers and governors to implement real change.
Despite police brutality and murder in cases like Tyre Nichols and George Floyd, the journalists agreed that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have a concrete track record of working to ensure better outcomes for African Americans.
“President Biden presented a vision for the future that spoke to many issues that are top-of-mind for Black Americans including police reform, voting rights, bolstering our economy, addressing climate change, and ensuring affordable and accessible health care,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson stated.
The State of the Union revealed Biden’s “renewed commitment to addressing racial inequities,” Johnson said, but added more than words are needed.
“Black America is grieving and continues to experience profound injustice at the hands of our nation’s broken systems,” Johnson argued.
“Far too many Black people have lost their lives due to police violence, and yet I cannot name a single law that has been passed to address this issue.”
Congressional Democrats have called for police reform since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, even introducing legislation named after Floyd.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would prohibit chokeholds and no-knock warrants from being used by law enforcement.
Further, this would put an end to qualified immunity and racial profiling by law enforcement.
Biden signed an executive order last year that does not allow federal officers to use chokeholds. He also signed an executive order that does not allow no-knock warrants to be used.
President Biden laid out a vision – and that vision was shaped by Black voters, Alicia Garza, principal of the Black to the Future Action Fund, said in a statement.
“We’ve pushed hard, and we know the administration is listening,” Garza stated.
The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) pointed out that when Biden was elected, he promised to restore the nation’s soul and strengthen its foundation.
Black mayors from all over the United States, including the four largest cities, are represented by the AAMA, and its leaders have said that they are confident that Biden “has our back and we’ve got his.”
The president’s leadership has helped steer our nation in the right direction, according to AAMA President and Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas Frank Scott, Jr.
To which Mayor Eric Adams of New York City added, “I was honored to be at the State of the Union to hear directly from President Biden about the progress we have made as a country and the work we still must do on behalf of New Yorkers and all other Americans.”
“The president’s focus on working people is exactly what the nation needs and his focus on helping Americans care for their children, put food on their table, and money in their wallets will resonate coast to coast,” Adams said.